San Juan de los Lagos is a small city in Jalisco, Mexico. He is recognized for his performance in livestock and poultry farming.

However, tourism, mostly religious, has made this place one of the most outstanding in the country, so millions of visitors come to marvel at its surroundings.

For that reason, we will mention the 12 best things to do and see in San Juan de los Lagos, so that you can get to know this place in depth and spend some incredible days.


1. Pilgrimage to the Cathedral of Our Lady of San Juan de los Lagos

It is one of the most important celebrations in the city, as it brings together approximately seven million parishioners every February 2. This pilgrimage begins on January 28 and ends on the 31 of the same month.

The route contemplates four stages: Ixmiquilpan, Queretaro, León and then (on January 31) they arrive before the image of the Virgin of San Juan de los Lagos. Later, on February 2, the great celebration is held in honor of this venerated Virgin.

2. Walk through the Historic Center

In the historic center of San Juan de los Lagos you will find outstanding museums, works, hotels and restaurants of the city that, without a doubt, will captivate your attention.

3. Enter the Chapel of the First Miracle

The chapel of the First Miracle will take you back to the past, specifically to the time when the Virgin resurrected a little girl after a tragedy in which, performing a circus act, she lost her life.

4. Visit the Rita Pérez School

As a legacy of the late fighter, you must visit the famous school of San Juan de los Lagos. This school houses more than 500 students.

5. Go to the Independence Monument

In front of the Cathedral is the Plaza Rita Pérez de Moreno and, in it, the monument to the independence of the city, which is surrounded by a beautiful fountain.

6. Look at the Miracle Paintings

The paintings that represent the first miracle of the Great Lady of San Juan de los Lagos are one of the most appreciated works of art in this beautiful Mexican town.

7. Eat at Sabrozone

Eating at the Sabrozone restaurant is one of the things that will make you want to return to San Juan de los Lagos. His food and his attention is formidable.

8. Celebrate the Spring Festival

Among so many celebrations, the Spring Festival is one of the most entertaining in the city, where you can spend days learning about its traditions.

Below I leave you a video of what the parade of the Spring festival in San Juan de los Lagos is like:

9. Observe the Post Office building

It is one of the oldest buildings in San Juan de los Lagos and represents the beauty of the baroque style in its facades.

10. Enjoy typical food

You cannot leave San Juan de los Lagos without first trying its tamales, cajetas, and alfajores. You can get these in almost any business in the city.

11. Shop at the craft market

The handicraft market is very extensive and in it you will find everything from embroidery and ladies’ clothing, to purses, bags and pottery items made with materials from their lands.

12. Go through the Cihualpilli Museum

In this museum you will find invaluable objects that date back to the first civilizations of the region and that are related to the Virgin of San Juan de los Lagos.

The Cihualpilli Museum was visited by Pope John Paul II due to its importance.

When is the Day of the Virgin in San Juan de los Lagos?

The celebration of the Virgin of San Juan de los Lagos takes place every August 15, the date on which her first coronation took place.

During this date, millions of pilgrims travel to this city from different parts of the world to venerate the miraculous image and share their expressions of faith.

What Virgin is in San Juan de los Lagos?

In this city of Jalisco is Our Lady of San Juan de los Lagos, also known as Cihualpilli, a name given by the indigenous people of the town of San Juan Bautista.

The name means The Great Lady and the figure measures just 33.5 centimeters tall and weighs 320 grams.

When is the pilgrimage to San Juan de los Lagos?

One of the most important dates in this region is the day of Candelaria, which is celebrated on February 2 of each year.

However, the faithful carry out various activities from January 25 to date (launch fireworks, carry out processions, dances, among other things) in order to gather a large crowd that will finally make the pilgrimage to the Basilica.

What was San Juan de los Lagos like before?

Formerly, the region was inhabited by the indigenous Nahuas, who had to abandon their lands after Spanish rule.

However, many of these tribes settled in their surroundings forming new populations until, finally, Fray Miguel de Bolonia took the initiative to reconquer Metzquititlán under the name of San Juan Bautista de Metzquititlán.

By then, the indigenous people, having already been inculcated by the Gospel, preserved the image of a virgin who later became the Great Lady of San Juan de los Lagos.

What does the name of San Juan de los Lagos mean?

In the mid-seventeenth century, the Real Audiencia de Guadalajara allowed mestizos, criollos, and Spaniards to live within the town of San Juan Bautista.

However, as it depended on the political level of the town of Santa María de los Lagos, over time the inhabitants of said population occupied the region, thus earning the name of Villa de San Juan de los Lagos.

How much does a bus ticket cost to San Juan de los Lagos from CDMX?

The best way to go to San Juan de los Lagos is by bus leaving from Mexico City.

The value of the ticket will depend on the bus line and the departure time you choose to travel. In this way we have:

  • First plus. Six departures between morning, afternoon and night for an amount of 779 pesos.
  • Odem Plus. A departure at night for a cost of 850 pesos.
  • ETN. Two departures between afternoon and night for the price of 1005 pesos.

It should be noted that trips from any line have a duration that varies between five and a half hours and six hours.

How miraculous is the Virgin of San Juan de los Lagos?

The first miracle of the image of the Virgin of San Juan de los Lagos comes from the second decade of the 17th century.

At that time, the town was still known as San Juan Bautista, whose image represented a small local chapel.

In that same chapel, the image of the Great Lady was kept, which once brought a girl back to life.

The incident occurred after a circus presentation, where the girl in her act fell on some knives and died immediately.

From that moment she is considered a miraculous Virgin, which is why millions of people prostrate before her to ask for acts of faith.

When was San Juan de los Lagos founded?

There are two important dates according to the foundation of San Juan de los Lagos. March 27, 1824 is the day on which the appointment of Villa is granted to the population of San Juan de los Lagos.

On October 30, 1869, a decree was approved that finally gave the famous town the category of city.

Where is San Juan de los Lagos located?

The city of San Juan de los Lagos is located in the state of Jalisco, specifically 150 kilometers from Guadalajara.

Among the municipalities that border this you will find Lagos de Moreno, San Julián, Encarnación Díaz, Teocaltiche, among others.

How many inhabitants are there in San Juan de los Lagos?

San Juan de los Lagos retains the largest number of inhabitants with respect to the towns around it.

For the year 2015, it had a total of 69,725 inhabitants, which in turn was almost 7% more than the census carried out in 2010.

However, it is estimated that by 2020, the population could grow to 75,898 inhabitants, with approximately 37,452 men and 38,446 women.

Who was Rita Pérez de Moreno and what did she do?

Rita Pérez de Moreno was a militant of the Mexican independence movement, who during her life accompanied her husband in his combats.

In his participation in this movement, he dedicated himself to cooking, distributing food and even healing the wounded in battle.

Unfortunately, in the process of an attack she was captured by the royalists while pregnant and in the company of four of her children in the year 1817.

During the two years she was held prisoner, she had to see two of her children die and receive the news of her husband’s murder.

However, when he left, he returned to his hometown where he barely lived until he was 82 years old, without any recognition other than the honor of having faithfully served his country.

Subsequently, a series of honors have been given to her for her hard fight, such as statues, books and ceremonies to her remains, leaving her as a martyr.

What to visit in San Juan de los Lagos?

San Juan de los Lagos has a wide variety of tourist and religious attractions that you cannot miss if you visit the state of Jalisco.

Among some of the places you can visit you will have:

  • Cathedral Basilica of Our Lady of San Juan de los Lagos
  • Historical Center
  • El Chito Carnitas Restaurant
  • The Pocitos
  • Artisan market
  • Mosque of Magdalena

San Juan de los Lagos Church

The Cathedral of San Juan de los Lagos was built between 1732 and 1769 and is known as the second most important church in Mexico after the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe.

For this reason, more than five million people visit it annually to make offerings and ask the Virgin for miraculous acts.

It should be noted that Castile stone was used for the foundations, pink quarry stone and tezontle for the walls and other finishes.

In addition, it is the tallest and most emblematic building in the city, and its baroque-style ornaments can be seen from almost anywhere in it.

In its surroundings you can find a large square and markets with items that you can bless after each mass.

What are the best hotels in San Juan de los Lagos?

Due to its immense religious tourism, among other attractions, the city of San Juan de los Lagos has seen the need to build hotels to house the millions of pilgrims who travel to it in order to get to know it.

Among the most important hotels you will get:

  • Royal Aqua Hotel
  • Hotel Hacienda Los Narcisos
  • Hotel Quinta Cesar
  • Grand Marques Hotel
  • AMD Hotel
  • Hotel Posada Arcos

How to get to San Juan de los Lagos?

To get to San Juan de los Lagos there are two ways. The first by bus and the second by car.

However, in case of traveling by car, there are two routes: the free route and the toll road.

To take the toll road, it is necessary to take the road to Silao and then take the Aguascalientes-Lagos de Moreno highway.

However, on the San Juan de los Lagos-Cuota route you will have to pay approximately 40 pesos and on the free route you will save money and arrive at the same point in San Juan de los Lagos.

Saint John of the Lakes Virgin

The Virgin of San Juan de los Lagos dates from the mid-16th century, when the image was given to the indigenous people of San Juan Bautista by Fray Miguel de Bolonia.

Later, this image deteriorated inside a chapel in the region due to little use, since at that time the image of Saint John the Baptist was venerated.

It was a long time later that the image of the Virgin of San Juan de los Lagos became famous, precisely at the time of the first miracle.

Currently, the image has been restored on some occasions, but has preserved the essence of the Virgin and the materials with which it was made (corn cane paste, among others).

In addition, she has performed a large number of miracles according to her most faithful devotees, who go on pilgrimage every year and bring offerings of gratitude for their actions, thus becoming the second most admired Virgin in Mexico.

Typical food of San Juan de los Lagos

Within the typical meals you will get the pozole, the meat tamales and the golden tacos are a delight.

You will also get sweets such as milk cajeta, chilacayotas, biznagas, honeyed figs, sweet potatoes and their famous jamoncillos

As for drinks, the natural fruit punch is the most traditional in the region.

San Juan de los Lagos Climate

San Juan de los Lagos has a fairly stable climate, since they do not have seasons but marked seasons of rain and drought.

For this reason, its average annual temperature is between 5 and 30°C, although the weather is mostly warm.

Therefore, you can comfortably go at any time of the year, but if you are not a fan of the heat, then we recommend avoiding the months between April and June.

Saint John of the Lakes Feast

According to the festivities of San Juan de los Lagos, we have twice celebrated the Virgin of Our Lady of San Juan de los Lagos.

The first is from January 25 to February 2, with dances of the Conquest and Moors and Christians, mechanical games, processions of some towns, among other things.

Secondly, from the first to the 15th of August, the date on which practically the same activities will take place.

In the middle of these dates, the Spring festivities are celebrated from May 15 to 31, where cockfights, serenades, and even bullfights take place.

Finally, from December 1 to 12, the most important Virgin in the country, the Virgin of Guadalupe, is celebrated.


In short, one of the greatest attractions of San Juan de los Lagos is its faith, religiosity and devotion. These qualities have made the city offer excellent accommodation, restaurants and tourist attractions. 

That is why we have offered you this list of the best things to do and see in San Juan de los Lagos, so that you can connect with its culture and population. Without a doubt, you will want to return.


See also:

  • Click here more about the 15 typical dishes of Jalisco that you must try
  • We leave you our guide with the TOP 7 magical towns of Jalisco that you have to visit
  • Read our ultimate guide to Mazamitla, Jalisco – Magical Town

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